Development of Forest Park Riding School Site

For anyone who missed it. After years of stop and start there is a project Works Approval before the National Capital Authority for a development on the old Forest Park Riding School site on the Cotter Road next door to Equestrian Park.

Here is a link to Ian Bushnell’s summary in the RiotAct

If you want more detail see the application on the National Capital Authority website at

Submissions close on 17 September.

ACTEA will be making a submission on the impacts of the development on both Equestrian Park and Yarralumla Horse Paddocks. If you want to contribute please email any concerns directly to Chrisitne Lawrence ( by cob 10 September.

You are encouraged to have a look for yourself if you are concerned. but here is a general summary of the project.

Mostly good news

  • Because they have to have a fire abatement area to their east and have to deal with some contaminated sites the building envelope is pushed more to the west of the block leaving a separation  from the x-country course in EP.
  • The tallest buildings on the site will be towards the front of the block dropping away to single story townhouses to the south. This means the tallest buildings will be somewhat disguised by vegetation and distance caused by the bend in the vehicle track within EP.
  • The whole site will be fenced with 1.8m-2.00m colour bond fencing which will provide some sound protection from rampant pensioners but see next category. There are no proposed breaks in this solid fence other than the front entrance so it is unlikely that there will be uninvited visits.


  • They have done a study of sightlines mainly from their own point of view (who cares what the neighbours think?) and according to them the buildings at the southern end, being lower, will be hidden behind vegetation from the Government House Lookout on Lady Denman Drive so they should also be hard to see from the cross-country course. It would be more interested to know whether the Governor-General could see them from his bedroom. Quentin Bryce said she could see the horses on the x-country course from there. But it does seem that the buildings will nor generally be an eyesore due to existing vegetation.
  • There does not appear to be any long term impact on the entry to Yarralumla Paddocks which has a small shared section coming off the Cotter Road or on the internal trails.

Not So Good News

  • The developers have not spent a single second considering the impact of their development on their neighbours who they have referred to as an ‘equestrian business’ and an ‘vacant rural blocks’. Their care about impacts is mainly driven by the requirements the NCA will have on the ‘national land’ protections under Commonwealth legislation.


  • They have not consulted with any of their neighbours or the Equestrian Park land manager, Sport & Recreation Services, about any short or long term impacts and possible mitigations.


  • Because no one lives on either neighbouring block there are no noise standards which apply just as none applied to EP when the Cotter Road was duplicated. That noise wall was a gift of Transport Canberra. This may become an issue when residents move in because there are plans for a dog park and playing fields (bowls any one?) along the eastern edge of the site where they cannot build.


  • They have to do a lot of cleaning up of the site before they start construction. There is a huge soil dump at the back of the block and contaminated waste sites across the rest. There will be heavy machinery and big trucks entering and leaving the site creating issues with the shared entrance.


  • The site will be fenced for security during construction but it is unlikely to be colour bond so there may be noise, machinery and dust issues for the neighbours for some months.


  • The site slopes down toward the horse paddocks and there may be contamination issues from anything escaping from the site especially in relation to the dam close to the boundary.


  • The bridle trail from the paddocks to the River is adjacent to the construction site and there may be temporary safety and access issues.








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